Ben Halima Abderraouf was born in Tunis in 1967 from a Tunisian father and an American mother. He grew up in both cultures until he embraced Islam at the age of fifteen. He since engaged in learning and teaching Islam through student, youth and daawa organizations. He came to continue his studies in France in 1986 then settled there. Statistical and economic engineer, Olympic mathematical champion, he also learned Quran by heart on his own an achieved a master degree in Arabic. After tremendous experience in daawa in various communities and countries, he gave full time to Islamic activities since 1995 and founded a French Islamic publishing house where he wrote, translated and edited 20 books, including the translation of Hayat Assahabah of Al-Kandahlaoui. He is practicing Roqya professionally since 1997 and since 2005 spends most of the year in tours for explaining Roqya and shirk issues, treating, training and installing Roqya centers in Africa and elsewhere.
Outing and activities of daawa and tabligh really shaped my training in spritituality, predication and group management. My first three days outing were in England in 1983 when I was sixteen, then my first forty days in 1987 in Pakistan. Since then I did 19 times forty days in addition to the four months, I even learnt urdu (Pakistan language) to have direct contact with the leaders.
The daawa and tabligh activity is a unique framework to understand the effort of the prophet, pbh. The tabligh is often blamed to be an archaic way of predication and people think it should take advantage of modern techniques: this is missing the point of tabligh goal and spirit. The tabligh is not a predication structure but a training one, and you will not be trained by preaching on radio or in newspaper, but by facing all kinds of people in the streets, by being belittled any time you are aggressed or humiliated, by searching all kinds of wisdoms to touch peoples’ heart and by imploring Allah every night to guide them. This is the training that matches most the one of sahabas, may Allah be pleased with them, which reproduces prophets’ life and enables to live the Quran. Otherwise, for daawa efficiency, my choice today is books, tv, radio and then the official way: being recognized by authorities and preach in official medias.
I will now list limits and lacks of this movement, not that I have turned my back on it or that I am advising people against it, but a rational spirit should know the limits of what it’s doing and have a clue on what it could not accomplish. There is a first step in the tabligh after street daawa which is daawa at work. I am giving you the example of shaykh Amjad Ali from Karachi, cardiologist who owes his own clinic. He tells me how he does daawa at work:
« When a patient comes, I explain to him that his illness is due to his sins because Allah says: « Anything bad that happens to you is a consequence of your own deeds » (Consultation). So he must repent and I ask him what is going on in his life to see if he has to arrange his prayer, or he way of getting money or his relation with his relatives or something else. Then, when I give the subscription, I put: read Yasin three times per day; make such or such duaa, enf then the medicines. When we have to do surgery, i ask the family to fast and to pray in the clinic’s mosque while we ask Allah’s assistance and perform the surgery. When a patient stays at the clinic, we bring him the stone for the tayammum and we explain to him how to pray in his state. Patients also have daily hadeeths and sourat recitation sessions. Nurses have daily Quran and sciences learning sessions and some of them became aalimat – scholars – and hafeez – memorizing all the Quran – with this daily session».
And this is how tabligh is taught to all doctors in Pakistan and India and in all the countries following their instructions, and for each professional category there is a program for preaching at work. You are going to ask me what I have against it? What I have against it is that many countries do not follow this movement and are still limited to street daawa. And do you know why? Because tabligh leaders in these countries do not work and for them tabligh consists in making people stop working to be dedicated to daawa.
The other lack in the daawa and tabligh movement is the inexistence of the emir conception. We insist a lot on shura – concertation – but there is no training for being emir and almost no advices to the emir on the way of managing the group and there is never evaluation for the emir. This leads to perpetual renewal of inefficient emirs and errors in human ressources. The emir choice criteria remain the same: commitment and elderness even though some will never be able to lead.
Mathematics are something flowing into my veins, moving into my neurons, structuring my vision of the world, putting in equation all the parameters of life. First of all, in school I was always the first in math. In primary school I was never doing my math homework and when the teacher was interrogating me, I was reading the question and giving the answer at once. In secondary school, the worst mark I got was 13,5/20 in second year and the worst average still in second year was 17. During the final year examination, there was a mistake in the exercise; I corrected it and I got 19,5/20. Then in life everything is mathematics. For example anytime I see women ready to make a salad, taking a cucumber, cuting it lengthways into two, then cuting again each part lengthways into two and then taking each piece one by one to slice it. As a mathematician you see straight that there is an obvious factorization which will allow you to save 75% of the time: first you need to start by cutting the cucumber into two but not totally, leaving the bottom, then you do the same to cut it into four, leaving the bottom, now you grip the four pieces with one hand and you slice them with the other. I never understood why people can’t see it immediately. Other math example in real life. When you give a candy to a child, he is happy. Then someone takes it from him or he loses it and he starts crying. But before he had the candy he was not crying, everything was fine, so now that he is back to his initial state why the tears? He should say to itself: “I never had a candy” and keep on being happy.
Since the dream of any math lover is to resolve the equation and optimize the function, here I am constantly searching for solutions and improvement.
I was wondering at my beginning in Islam what could be the use of my intelligence in religion, since religion’s principle is to learn and apply and not innovate and find solution. I did not wait long to figure out that there is a lot to do and I hope that my books will prove it to you.